• The December 9 Council meeting marked the end of term for two councilors, Richard Esterman and Mayor Chuck Ryan, neither of whom sought re-election. Councilor Andrea Blum was re-elected to another four-year term. The two newly elected councilors, Gary Ross and Jennifer Letz, will be sworn into office at the January 13, 2021 Council meeting.

• At last week’s City Council meeting, councilors voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the City Municipal Code 5.50.090, which provides additional grounds for hardship exemptions for short-term-rental operators, such as wildfire and other natural disasters.

• Due to a change in State law regarding requests for public information, the City has adopted public records request policy and procedures, replacing and superseding Records Request 103. The new policy requires that anyone requesting any public information from the City must submit their request on the correct City form which can be found on the City website. If the information benefits the general public, there will be no charge. Forms can be scanned and emailed, faxed, or mailed to City Recorder Kerry Prosser.

• In response to requests from local businesses to continue the use of “parklets” on public right-of-way in front of their establishments, Council agreed to extend the temporary program, necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic until April 2021, at which time it will be reviewed. The use of the parklets allows restaurants to seat patrons outside in the public right-of-way.

• A Public Improvement Contract has been approved by Council with Cascade Civil Corporation of Redmond in the amount of $77,422 for the Creekside Park bridge improvements project. When finished, the bridge will be fully ADA accessible. City Public Works Director Paul Bertagna said they hope to have the work completed by mid-March. If it isn’t completed, the bridge will stay closed when the campground opens on April 1. A majority of the funding for the project came from a grant awarded by Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

• Anderson Perry & Associates Inc. and the City have a professional services agreement for the Lazy Z Master Plan in an amount not to exceed $48,317. AP will design possible concepts for the property owned by the City located on the west side of Highway 20 beyond the FivePine campus. The project will include data collection, a topographical survey, and identification of constraints and opportunities for the property. The concept selected will be used for developing a long-term road map and future bidding. Walker-Macy is the landscape architectural firm involved. The project is expected to take six to nine months to complete. The newly established Public Works Advisory Board will be involved in the project and will review the plan before it goes to the Planning Commission and the City Council.

• With Deschutes County being the fastest growing county in the state (up 220 percent since 1980), the County’s Community Development Department is considering implementing new codes and regulations that would better protect rural communities from wildfires. They are considering requiring fire-resistant building material for new construction and requiring defensible space for existing structures. A survey of county residents was conducted last week, and the results will be presented to the County Commissioners in early 2021. The Sisters City Council approved sending a letter of support for the suggested new codes and regulations.

• There is a new sound abatement wall being constructed in front of Sisters Mobile Home Park on Highway 20. When completed, it will have year-round landscaping in front of the wall, it will be painted a muted color selected by the City, and it may include some kind of public art or mural. (See related story.)

• As reported by a local citizen, there is currently a dangerous place along Camp Polk Road where deer are crossing the road on a regular basis and being hit by cars as drivers come around a blind corner. There are several spots where drivers can’t see very far ahead. If traveling along Camp Polk Road, slow down and watch for deer.

• Be sure and check out the Comprehensive Plan Online Open House on the City website (www.ci.sisters.or.us), read about the Plan, and fill out the survey to be sure your voice is heard for the decisions being made about the future of Sisters.